October 2017 Monthly Recap

We got back 2 weeks ago from South East Asia and it’s good to be home, it always is. The trip was ok, we did manage to do two short getaways whilst we were there when my husband wasn’t working. But apart from that I did find staying in that apartment quite boring.

Since getting back, It didn’t take me long to overcome the jet lag but it did take my son about a week. The three of us were also battling colds, especially munchkin. But thankfully we are all feeling much better now.

I also submitted my son’s enrollment forms to his day care. Even though I won’t be going back to work right now, we have decided to put him in for one day per week. I think this will help him to learn new things and play with other kids. He will start in 2 weeks time. I expect the first day to be hard for both of us but after that initial hurdle I hope it’s all smooth sailing.

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Housing Update

We accepted a low offer for our current house after some convincing from our agent (eye roll). I wasn’t happy about it and was willing to reject it but my husband gave in. A small part of me was happy that we were finally selling after 2 months on the market but a big part of me was very disappointed.

Then a few days later the buyers pulled out of the sale. I was actually happy about this and felt like the universe was trying to say that we were giving it away too cheap. It’s back on the market now and we are seriously considering renting it out.

If we do decide to rent, we want to rent and then wait for the market to pick up again. When it does we want to put the house up for sale and hopefully sell at a good price. The media is speculating that house prices will go up next year, so fingers crossed that it does.

However, I would still love to sell now and move on. Financially it is our best option to sell and our agent has another 2-3 weeks to make this happen. He seems motivated and confident so I really hope I have some good news to report at the end of November.

The renovations on our new house are progressing well. The kitchen will be getting installed in 2 weeks time, followed by new flooring. After that we need to do a big clean up and then hopefully move in!

Work Update

My request to work remotely when I am out of the country was declined 😦 I am obviously very disappointed and angry with this outcome. The company I work for actually has an offshore branch in the country we are moving to and they still declined my request. I have now been forced to extend my maternity leave for an additional 6 months.

One of the biggest issues I have about moving overseas is boredom and I thought having my work would help reduce that boredom significantly. So now I have to find other things to do keep myself occupied.

Maybe this will force to me look at freelancing or doing short term contract work in the future. I need to do some research and update my resume.

This month hasn’t given me much good news but I am hopeful that some good changes are on the horizon. 

I really need to start being more positive and be grateful for what I have.

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September 2017 Monthly Recap

Hello spring!

The weather is getting warmer down here so I’ve been trying to go out for walks with the munchkin when I can. I am enjoying them, it helps clear my mind and he seems to enjoy looking at the trees and the cars driving by.

Being Productive

I would say this month has been reasonably productive as I managed to cross off several items on my to-do list.

This month I managed to get the following things done:

  • Packed and shipped a few boxes containing lots of nappies, formula and other essentials to South East Asia for our upcoming extended stay.
  • Submitted a child care rebate claim with Centrelink.
  • Opened up a bank account for my son.
  • Decluttered my wardrobe and donated a bag full of clothes, shoes and accessories to charity.
  • Lodged our taxes! See below.

Taxes

Yay, I got our taxes done!

It’s always a relief to tick this off the to-do list. I got a big refund but my husband has to pay around $500 to the tax office. This money will definitely come in handy with all the expenses we have right now.

Housing Update

The renovations on our new house are well on the way. Luckily my husband has taken full control and is managing that project with little assistance from me. I call him the renovation guru because he seems to have a talent for managing tradespeople efficiently. The house is getting a full transformation and I can’t wait to see the final product.

However our current house failed to sell at auction at the start of the month, and it is still yet to sell unfortunately. So far we have only received one solid offer and that was too low for us to accept. I never thought we would be in this situation when we live in one of the most popular cities in terms of real estate in the world. The market appears to have definitely cooled off which is unfortunate for us, but I’m still hopeful that we will sell in the next few weeks.

Work Update

My request to go back to work part-time has been approved so when I return in early November, I will be working 3 days a week. My request to work remotely when I am out of the country is still yet to be approved and they appear to be dragging their feet on this. My manager is fully supportive and it’s human resources and upper management that seem to be having issues with it. I still feel positive that I will get the desired outcome so fingers crossed that this final request gets across the line.

Reading

Yes that’s right, I finally managed to read a book!

To Kill a Mockingbird By Harper Lee

to kill a mocking bird by harper lee

The story is based in the 1930’s and is narrated by a 6 year old child who is nicknamed “Scout”. The story addresses many serious issues such as racism, rape and injustice and I can see why it was a groundbreaking book. I expected this book to have a happy ending which it didn’t, but I guess that made the story more realistic and true to the period it was set in. Overall the book kept me interested and I like the positive messages that it projected such as courage and empathy.

Final Thoughts

So overall September has been a busy yet productive month. I am currently overseas for a short visit to South East Asia to set up our apartment and get things organised before we come here again in December. Hope you all had a great month!

Images: Amazon.co.uk

 

Life Changes Coming Up

There are some big changes coming up in the horizon for us which I mentioned briefly in my previous post. There’s a few so I will talk about each one individually.

Life change ahead

Moving Overseas

Albeit temporarily, the biggest change is that we are moving to South East Asia for some months of the year starting in December. My husband is taking a job opportunity as an entrepreneur and we want to be together as a family, hence we are all going.

As much as I want him to take this opportunity it has been a struggle to come to terms with such a big life change. Having to live in two homes in two completely different countries with an infant is no easy task and I also want to go back to work which complicates things further. Needless to say there has been several fights between us but I think we are both over all that now and focused on what we need to do.

I have asked my employer permission to work remotely so I’m hopeful that my request gets approved. I’m also trying to look at this as a good opportunity to experience living abroad and enjoy ourselves.

A few things I want to mention about all of this:

  • Almost everything is paid for by my husband’s employer. This includes rent, some utilities, plane tickets and transport.
  • We are moving to a country where we have family so it will be nice for my son to spend time with them.
  • This will only be for a few months in the year. We will definitely be back home in Australia in April, May and June as it’s just too hot over there during these months.

We Bought Another House

Life wasn’t getting complicated enough for us so we went and bought a house lol!

We bought a house which is far more comfortable than our current one. It’s a single story house on a nice block of land with large bedrooms and a spacious living area. We don’t have to move very far as this house is just 5 min away from our current house, in fact we walked it the other day and it took about 40 minutes. We are planning to do some renovations to make it our own so the next few weeks are going to be busy.

You may remember me mentioning in a few posts last year that we were planning to renovate our current house. We had a draftsman draw up all the plans and submit all the required documents to the local council. We were told that it wouldn’t take long to get the approvals, approximately 4 weeks.

Well unfortunately that didn’t happen. The council kept requesting one thing after the other and kept delaying the approvals. We all grew more and more frustrated and in the end we withdrew our application.

After feeling completely defeated and giving up on having a more comfortable house to live in like we planned, this house suddenly popped up for sale which ticked most of our boxes. My mum gets all the credit for this as she was the one who found it.

So here we are, it’s funny how things work out. We are actually happy it worked out this way as we feel as though we got a better house in the end and we also think that the renovation that we originally planned would have exceeded our budget by a fair bit.

Selling Our Current House

Well naturally we need to sell our current home and we are currently in the process of doing this. We thought this would be easy but unfortunately, there hasn’t been much interest so far and it looks like the market is cooling off. Well I’m going to remain optimistic and hopefully I will be able to report some good news at the end of the month.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, my life is pretty crazy right now. The next 12 months are going to be unpredictable, scary but also exciting and I’m looking forward to the adventure that lies ahead for us. My husband and I joke that we will like one of those couples on House Hunters International lol!
Images: retireonyourterms.org

I’m Back

Greetings!

I haven’t abandoned this blog, I have just been busy and preoccupied the last 4 months with life in general.

May and June were busy with various things, most of which I can’t even remember now. I do recall that my son caught a viral bug in June which caused him to become temporarily lactose intolerant which was not fun for any of us, mostly him. The end result was that we had to temporarily switch him to a soy based formula. He was on the soy formula for a month and a half before I slowly switched him back to his regular formula. I’m happy to say that he is back to his normal self and is happy and healthy.

In addition to all that stress I was also packing for our trip overseas to south east Asia in July. I was a bit anxious at the time as it was munchkins first trip overseas. It was all new territory and I was concerned about the flight in particular. In the end, the first leg of the flight (8 hours) was ok but the second leg (3 hours) was quite difficult. There was a 2 hour transit between the two flights as well. It was his sleeping time and he was struggling to fall asleep. We were all really tired at that point and couldn’t wait to reach our destination. In the end we got there and all was well.

We were overseas for just over a month and it was fun spending time with family, however the heat did become unbearable for me and I was just counting down the days towards the end. The flight back went surprisingly well and my son slept through most of it which was nice 🙂

A photo from our holiday

As we were away for most of July, August was all about settling back home. It took about a week for all of us to overcome the jet lag. Back home we were still in winter so munchkin did get a cold and so did I, mainly due to the weather change.

So here we are and it’s now September and several changes are on the horizon for us. I will share more on this in an upcoming post as it’s fairly long. All I will say is that life has been pretty crazy with more craziness on the way, and it’s taken some time for me to wrap my head around everything.

I will end it here and wish you all a happy spring! Here’s to more sunshine and warmer days 🙂

April 2017 Monthly Recap

April was the month with several public holidays so that meant long weekends! We enjoyed the two long weekends that we had, we mostly spent it with family and managed to catch up with some friends too. It was nice having my husband home as he was able to spend more time with our son in addition to me getting some help with taking care of the baby 🙂

I’m always on a mission to get more organised, it’s a work in progress but I’m slowly getting there.

Keep calm and get organized

I’m happy to say that this month I managed to accomplish a number of things on the organisation front. They were:

  • Sorted through and filed paperwork that had been piling up for months.
  • Cleaned out a cupboard that is located near the front door. It was piling up with all types of things but I’ve now cleared it all out and I have only kept things that we need in there.
  • Cleaned out two junk drawers in our living room.
  • Cleaned out my handbag.
  • Sorted my sons clothes and tidied up his wardrobe. Put away clothes that he has outgrown and washed the bigger sized clothes so they are ready to wear.

There’s still plenty more that needs to be done and I will get there eventually. I’m just happy that I’m making progress and accomplishing one goal at a time.

Apart from continuing on my quest of being more organised, I also started watching The Office (US version). Remember that show? It’s a great show and it is just hilarious! I watched season 1 years ago but I didn’t continue with it, I just didn’t get into it back then. Then a few weeks ago  I happened to catch some random episodes and loved it so I decided to start watching it from the beginning. I am currently part way through season 3 and I am loving it, so funny! Only 6 more seasons to go 🙂

What else? Well I have also enrolled my son into day care. He won’t start till the end of November when I am due to go back to work, but I may start him around mid October just so he eases into it a little better. We had a look at a few long day care centres and the one we liked by a mile was of course the most expensive at $110 per day. The others were not much cheaper but the one we chose had friendly staff, was spacious and looked very organised. It also had vacancies which was a surprise considering how hard it is to get a place in day care these days. So we decided to enrol him which involved having to pay two weeks bond plus an enrolment fee of $50. Very expensive indeed!

I just want to point out that the government does subsidise a part of that $110 per day. It should be 50% off capped at $7500 per year but I believe this may be changing according to the recent budget changes announced by the government. This benefit is not means tested so everyone is eligible. There is another benefit that is means tested but unfortunately I don’t think we will be eligible for that. Well at least we are getting something!

I think I have rambled on for long enough, hope you all had a great month!

March 2017 Recap

Well March was mostly about settling back into our house as my husband was away for most of February for work, and because of that I stayed at my parents with the baby. It took about a week to get into our routine but it is nice to be back home.

Apart from settling back home I managed to finally attend a mothers group meeting at the local community centre. I wasn’t aware that these meet ups were for babies that are between 0-8 weeks old so my son at 3.5 months was the odd one out. However I am glad I went as I was able to see what happens in these meet ups. I was unable to attend mothers group when my son was born as they were closed during December and January, but had they been open I think it would have been very helpful during those tough early weeks.

Mother and baby polar bears

On the bright side, at the mothers group meet up I did become aware of playgroup sessions that were also operating at the community centre. Playgroup NSW is offering free registration this year for babies under 12 months, so I registered my son and I have been attending the playgroup for babies over the last 3 weeks. Although munchkins is little, it’s nice for him to be around other kids and get used to noises and a different environment. It’s also nice to meet other mums and share experiences so I would have to say that I have enjoyed attending these sessions so far.

Taking my baby to these playgroup sessions has also unexpectedly helped in building my confidence. I have generally been hesitant to take the baby out on my own, but the other day I went to the shopping centre to buy a few things with the baby and I wasn’t stressed at all. I would not have had the confidence to do this a month ago, so I think getting out more has been beneficial to me too.

As far as my reading is concerned, I didn’t read any books this month and I’m pretty disappointed with myself about that. I want to read at least one book a month so hopefully going forward I start to achieve this goal on a regular basis.

So march ended up being a very positive month for me apart from the reading. Hope you all had a great month too!

Images: Tumblr

February 2017 Recap

The weather has been terrible this summer. I used to love summer, I seriously hate it now! We have experienced one of the hottest summers down here in Sydney Australia and I will be happy to see the back of it!

Ok weather rant over…

This month I have been staying at my parents house with the baby as my husband had to go overseas for work. My parents have enjoyed having us stay with them for a couple of weeks, they are after all pretty smitten by their first grandchild 🙂 I have used this time to catch up with friends and go out and do a little shopping here and there. It has only been for a few hours but it makes a difference. Staying indoors all the time can get isolating so it’s good to get out when the opportunity arises. I have also been trying to be more active by getting a morning walk in when I can. It was impossible during the first two weeks of the month due to the hot weather but as the weather has improved now I have trying to get more walks in.

It was my birthday this month and I was able to catch up with one of my dear friends on the day. We had lunch and saw the movie – Hidden Figures. Great film, those women were so strong, super smart and inspirational!

I started watching the TV show – Married at First Sight. Yes I have no shame lol! What can I say, I just can’t look away. Some of the couples look cute together and could make it work but there are few that seem totally mismatched. I really don’t know what the experts were thinking there. It will be interesting to see how they all progress, I know the likelihood is that most of them will break up, I guess there is always hope for a happy ending 🙂

I’ve been reading again and I finished my first book for 2017! Yay!

This month I read..

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Baby Secrets – How to know your baby’s needs by Jo Tantum and Barbara Want

This book was recommended to me by a friend as a guide to introducing routines to babies. I found it to be a really insightful read and so far I have implemented the routines recommended in the book on my own baby. The main purpose of the book is to guide parents into introducing a routine with the ultimate aim of helping babies to sleep through the night. The book also talks about how to read your babies cries and tips on how to troubleshoot various issues that arise. It’s a good book and I would happily recommend it to a parent who wants to introduce their child to a routine.

I hope you all had a nice February. Next month I am hoping to settle back home and continue with my quest of getting more organised.

2016 End of Year Review

I haven’t posted in a while, life just got really busy since the baby arrived. But I am trying to get my life into some kind of order now and hopefully I can start blogging more. Apart from life getting busy I also lost a bit of motivation to blog so I am hoping I get my mojo back. Well I guess writing this post is a start lol so hopefully it continues as I do enjoy blogging. I wrote 21 posts all up last year and looking back I liked writing the monthly recap posts the most as they helped me reflect back on what happened every month.

OK so I thought I would review the year that was 2016.

What a year and it was pretty much dominated by my pregnancy. I think we were very blessed to fall pregnant reasonably quickly although it did feel like forever.  Overall I would say that I had a pretty good pregnancy. The morning sickness wasn’t great but it wasn’t terrible either. I didn’t vomit and I didn’t have any weird cravings so I can’t really complain. The final weeks were uncomfortable just like any pregnancy would be I suppose, but I stayed healthy and as active as possible right till the end. The baby surprised us all and came 3 weeks early too which was something I never even considered would happen. My advice to anyone expecting is to start organising and prepare your hospital bag at 35 weeks because you just never know!

So anyway we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy! The last two and half months have been challenging for sure but it’s also been very rewarding. The constant lack of sleep can really take a toll and I also faced breastfeeding issues and loneliness from staying at home. I have been working in some capacity for nearly 18 years believe it or not, so when I was home alone for the first time it wasn’t an easy change to adjust to. It has taken some adjusting and it is getting better, however it’s something I continue to work on. But despite all these challenges, I would never want to go back to how it was before. I am so lucky to have my baby boy and am so thankful that I get be his mother. One thing I have learned is that the sooner you accept that – this is how life is now and that this is what normal is, the easier it gets. It took me a few weeks to accept this but once I did life became so much better.

So apart from the highlight of having a baby, at the beginning of last year I set myself a goal to start reading books. I am proud to say I definitely accomplished this goal! I actually set a small goal to read 5 books and I ended up reading 12 books!! I am so thrilled with that number and even more thrilled that I have discovered a new hobby.

Here’s a list of all the books I read last year.

  1. The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella – Review
  2. 101 Ways To Save Money On Your Tax – Legally! 2015-2016 By Adrian Raftery
  3. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan – Review
  4. The Zero Waste Home: 101 Ways To Reduce Waste & Save Money In Your Home by Kate Anderson – Review
  5. Last Shot (Dev Haskell Mystery #6) By Mike Faricy
  6. A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) By Arthur Conan Doyle
  7. The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) By Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. Love Muffin and Chai Latte by Anya Wylde – Review
  9. Mr. Swirlee (Dev Haskell Mystery #2) By Mike Faricy – Review
  10. What to Expect When You’re Expecting By Heidi Murkoff – Review
  11. 30 Days Change Your Habits Change Your Life by Marc Reklau – Review
  12. Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson – Review

The book that really stands out as my favourite is Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. It was such a fun book to read and I really want to read the next book in the series.

I also set a goal to track my expenses every month. This didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, I was actually doing really well up until November but as soon as the baby was born I stopped tracking. The process I follow to track my expenses is very manual and moving forward it is just not practical to continue tracking this way. A few people commented on the post I wrote about how I track my expenses and mentioned that they made use of online banking tools to do this automatically. I was aware that my bank offered this feature too so I’m planning on getting this set up so I can start tracking again.

Having a baby changes everything 🙂

In regards to our savings, I think we did pretty well most months. Our savings rate was in the black almost every month, it was just one or two months at the end of the year where it went in the red. This was mainly due to costs associated with our upcoming home renovation. We are currently waiting for approval from the local council, so once that comes through we can start getting quotes and then start the renovation. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final product and to have a more comfortable house that my little family can enjoy.

I also made a bit more money last year without really trying. I received a small pay rise from work and I was also added to the on call roster which means that for the weeks that I was rostered to do out of hours support, I received an allowance.

What were the other highlights….

Oh yes, our holiday to Cairns back in August was very nice. That was our “babymoon” and it was a very relaxing and memorable trip. Hopefully we will be able to take more trips like this with our little munchkin in the future.

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Cairns Queensland Australia

 

Overall 2016 was a pretty awesome year…a year I will never forget!

November 2016 Recap – The Most Memorable Month of My Life

I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy! He was very impatient and decided he had to come 3 weeks early!! I definitely wasn’t expecting to give birth 3 weeks early and it all happened so quickly. But he is here, healthy and has brought so much joy to our family ❤

I took 3 weeks off work before my due date and thought I had all the time in the world to get organised before the baby arrived, I was actually a little worried that I would feel bored at home. My last day of work was on a Friday and I gave birth 2 days later! It was a massive surprise but we feel so blessed. The feeling you get when they finally arrive is truly amazing!

I’m hoping to write my birth story and share it here on the blog so I don’t forget it. I need to do that sooner rather than later.

Tracking expenses and calculating saving rates have been put on hold for now. I haven’t tracked anything since the birth and I’m unsure when I will start again as I have my hands full these days.

As far as my reading is concerned, I did finish a book in early November which I started reading the previous month.

thirty two going on spinster by becky monson

Thirty-Two Going on Spinster by Becky Monson

This book is pretty average and predictable. I found the constant self loathing, procrastination and over analysis by the main character to be really annoying at times. There are another two books in this series but I won’t be reading them. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst book I’ve ever read, I started to get into it more towards the end but it was the main characters self loathing that really put me off. You just want to tell her to snap out of it!

So November turned out to be a truly blessed month for us with the safe arrival of our first child. Hope you all had a great November and have an even better December! Take care 🙂

October 2016 Recap

The month flew by as usual but it has been a rather uncomfortable one in regards to my pregnancy. The baby has grown so I’m carrying more weight which makes it harder to walk. There’s swollen feet, clothes not fitting and I’m also a lot slower these days, mostly physically though 🙂

I was telling my husband the other day “I think I’m over it” lol. That said I don’t want the baby to come now as it’s a bit too early. The last weeks of pregnancy are definitely challenging.

Our antenatal classes wrapped up about two weeks ago and they were really helpful. I’m so glad we signed up for them, we both learnt so much and they have really put me more at ease about labour and the birth.

money

In regards to finances we had a pretty expensive month. There were several extra expenses such as:

  • Renovation costs (payments to the architect)
  • Baby items (car seat, bath, baby carrier, clothes etc)
  • Food
  • Medicines and toiletries
  • Clothes (My husband needed to replace a few business shirts and jeans and I needed a few items as well)

Our savings rate as a result was in the negative at -6% 😦

The biggest expenses were the payments to the architect and the baby items. The eating out and take away food total was higher than usual as well. Looks like hubby and I were definitely more relaxed in regards to eating out, I think that might be because we know we won’t be able to go out very often once the baby arrives. I have also been feeling more dehydrated lately so we have been buying more take away juices and fruit salads which obviously adds up.

Anyways, hopefully the savings rate improves dramatically in November. Although the car registration payment is due which will be around $1000, there shouldn’t really be any more big expenses.

I didn’t finish reading any books this month but I am part way through reading one. The book I am reading is dragging on a little but I will hopefully finish it in the next week or so. I will review it in next months recap.

How did October fair for you?